How to Keep What Matters Most Top of Mind

You know the saying…man plans and God laughs. This is my life. I’m the queen of setting strong intentions and making big plans…that instantly go to hell as soon as they’re put to the test in real life. It’s maddening. When you crave growth, progress and accomplishment, there’s nothing worse than the feeling of life getting in your way.

That frustration is a huge reason I decided a few years ago to give up setting goals and resolutions in favor of choosing a single word as my priority each year. Picking a one word theme allows for a lot more flexibility and is way less crushing when things don’t pan out exactly how you envisioned or on your perfect timetable.

If you’ve decided to nix the pointless resolutions and, instead, create your own theme for the year , you’re already more likely to make progress than if you’d set a run-of-the-mill, arbitrary goal. Let’s be real – our minds are all going a mile a minute. ONE Word is easier to keep track of because it’s simple and ties all your aspirations together with a tidy bow. But — choosing your theme, setting your intention, stating your priority — is only part of the battle. In many ways, it’s the easiest part. If you want it to stick, you’ve got to have a system in place that makes coming back to your word a cinch when life starts to happen.

A few years ago, some friends and I decided to have dinner in January and set (out loud) our intentions, in a word, for the year. I had a fun thought, inspired by, of all things, an episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, where Yolanda Foster had some friends paint small pictures that would form a collage for her daughter who was moving away for college. After dinner, we each sat down with a small canvas, a couple magazines and our optimism for the year ahead. We cut out the word we felt most connected and glued it to our canvas. We then used markers to embellish and add color and our own artistic flare around the word we chose. The final product were these pretty individual collages we could keep somewhere we’d see every day to remind us of our intention. It was a fun way to share our theme with each other and picture a glimpse at what was (hopefully) on the horizon for each of us.

Now, you certainly don’t need something that elaborate, but don’t be afraid to have some fun and get creative with how you’ll keep your word top of mind and heart. If you don’t want it to just get buried in your brain or tossed aside with the to do later list, here are some things to consider.

  1. Make it visible. Whether you make a picture like I did, write it on a post-it note to stick to your mirror, or create a screen saver on your phone, make sure it’s in a spot you see every day. Consider changing the spot up now and then for a fresh perspective.
  2. Share it. Create accountability by letting your friends know your word. Bonus if you know their’s too and can be each other’s cheerleader and chief accountability officer when things get nutty. You could even create a group text to share each other’s wins. Remember: there’s no pass/fail when you only have 1 word to aim for – just an idea to keep you focused and working towards.
  3. Keep it alive. Have regular coffee breaks or happy hours to check in on how you’re doing at keeping your word’s momentum. What’s working? What’s not? What’s next? Put it out there by sharing inspirational quotes or pictures that speaks to you and your priorities on social media. You never know who you might inspire, too!
  4. Focus on actions not the end goal. At the end of the day, it all comes down to action. Beyond talking and thinking about what you ultimately want, what are you doing to make it happen? If “health” is your word, what’s one thing you can do enable that? Go to the gym. Go to yoga. Walk to work. Don’t get mired in the details of frequency, intensity or specifics of your ultimate goal. That only sets us up for frustration. Keep it simple, focus on what you can do today, and you’ll be surprised how quickly little things add up to big changes.

There’s no time like the present. Get started by sharing what 2017 is going to be all about for you. Post your word with the hashtag #BDPriorities and #wordfor2017 and let’s see where our words take us in 2017. 



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